Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson up and running at Australian Open

Australian Open
Rafael Nadal in action

Second seed Rafael Nadal kicked off his 2019 Australian Open campaign with a three-set win over James Duckworth while Kevin Anderson needed four sets.

Spaniard Nadal came into the tournament under an injury cloud after he was forced to withdraw from the Brisbane International, but he was always in control against Duckworth.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner secured a 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 win in two hours and 15 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal broke in the first game of the match, but Duckworth did have his moments as the Australian broke once in the second and third sets, but the 2009 champion always had his number and bounced back.

“Not easy to come back after a lot of months especially against a player who is playing super aggressive,” he said.

“It was difficult to be on rhythm. I’m very happy to be through, it’s always difficult to start after injuries. It’s so special to be back.”

Anderson was taken to four sets by Adrian Mannarino with the South African eventually winning 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.

Next up for the fifth seed is Frances Tiafoe after the American beat Prajnesh Gunneswaran 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, 6-3 to reach the second round.

The 20th seed Grigor Dimitrov overcame a sluggish start as he dropped the first set before beating Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

Other players to advance were 19th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, 26th seed Fernando Verdasco and Robin Haase.


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